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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 8, 2011
6:15 PM

Who is the Government Jailing? Environmentalists, Whistleblowers, and Peace Activists

WASHINGTON - March 8 - In response to the question: “Is it illegitimate for people to say that some of those CEOs on Wall Street should have gone to jail?” White House Chief of Staff William Daley said Sunday: “Well, I — look at, I don’t know if it’s illegitimate or not. People have a right to say what they want. But I think if you’re an elected official, you should allow the justice system to take over and move forward. And when there are prosecutions, that’s up to that system.”

BILL McKIBBEN, via Jamie Henn
McKibben is the author of a dozen books on the environment, a scholar in residence at Middlebury College, and founder of 350.org. He recently wrote the piece “As climate crime continues, who are we sending to jail? Tim DeChristopher?” which states: “Let’s consider for a moment the targets the federal government chooses to make an example of. So far, no bankers have been charged, despite the unmitigated greed that nearly brought the world economy down. No coal or oil execs have been charged, despite fouling the entire atmosphere and putting civilization as we know it at risk. But engage in creative protest that mildly disrupts the efficient sell-off of our landscape to oil and gas barons? As [environmental activist] Tim DeChristopher found out [last week], that’ll get you not just a week in court, but potentially a long stretch in the pen.”

JESSELYN RADACK
Radack is homeland security and human rights director of the Government Accountability Project. She said today: “The Obama administration is prosecuting whistleblowers in droves, more than all previous administrations combined. Some of them went through all the ‘proper channels’ to report problems internally [and are being prosecuted] under the Espionage Act, which is meant to go after spies, not truth-tellers. The Government Accountability Project knows of seven ‘leak’ investigations or prosecutions, the most egregious of which is that of Thomas Drake. This is a disturbing trend that sends a chilling message to public servants — especially from an administration that is supposedly devoted to openness and transparency.”

Radack recently wrote a piece titled “War on Whistleblowers Escalating,” which also notes the “Prosecution of FBI linguist Shamai Leibowitz under the Espionage Act; Prosecution of accused Wikileaks source Bradley Manning; Prosecution of former State Department employee Stephen Kim under the Espionage Act; Indictment of former CIA employee Jeffery Sterling under the Espionage Act” and others.

The Project has set up a petition for Drake’s case.

BILL BICHSEL, also via Leonard Eiger, gzcenter.org
Bichsel is an 82-year-old Jesuit priest from Tacoma, Washington. He is one of the “Disarm Now Plowshares,” five activists who were convicted of federal charges in December because they cut through fences where nuclear weapons are stored on Nov. 2, 2009. According to their webpage, each defendant faces possible sentences of up to ten years in prison; they are scheduled to be sentenced on March 28. Once arrested, the five were cuffed and hooded with sand bags because the marine in charge testified “when we secure prisoners anywhere in Iraq or Afghanistan we hood them …so we did it to them.”

Desmond Tutu wrote recently: “I fully support the nonviolent disarmament witness that took place in the United States on Nov. 2, 2009 to begin to disarm the Trident nuclear weapons. The first strike Trident nuclear missiles are a real threat to all nations, including South Africa. During the struggle against apartheid in South Africa we often used civil resistance and other nonviolent methods. These methods are equally relevant when it comes to the struggle against war and nuclear weapons.” PDF

Bichsel said today: “I see more homelessness — that’s what we deal with here at the Tacoma Catholic Worker. Meanwhile, massive resources are going to war and destruction. Nuclear weapons also contribute to proliferation as others look on in fear and dread of the U.S. and its having the biggest stockpile.”

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A nationwide consortium, the Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA) represents an unprecedented effort to bring other voices to the mass-media table often dominated by a few major think tanks. IPA works to broaden public discourse in mainstream media, while building communication with alternative media outlets and grassroots activists.



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